THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomed Friday, January 18, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers' (ACT) petition filed before the Court of Appeals questioning the constitutionality of a memorandum that orders the profiling of ACT members.
But DILG Secretary Eduardo Año defended the Philippine National Police's (PNP) conduct of intelligence gathering on ACT members against the group's claim that it violated its members' right to association, right to assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the right to privacy.
“I wish to emphasize that the PNP has done nothing to violate any of the rights mentioned in the petition. In fact, allegations of a police crackdown on ACT is absolutely devoid of basis or evidence and is merely a propaganda ploy to earn precious media mileage ahead of the party-list elections in May,” said Año.
“We must be reminded that intelligence gathering is a task routinely done by law enforcement officers all over the world as part of their mandate and it was CPP founder Joma Sison himself who identified the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” he added.
Año said the PNP will only be guilty of dereliction of duty and negligence if they will do nothing about the statement of Sison where he tagged ACT as among the communist group's allies.
“With this, we maintain that, as stated by the Supreme Court in several of its decisions, that the right to privacy is not absolute and may nevertheless succumb to an overriding state interest deemed legitimate and compelling,” Año said.
On Thursday, January 17, the ACT, represented by its National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez and its Secretary-General Raymond Basilio, together with ACT National Capital Region Union, Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and ACT Region III Union filed a petition for prohibition against a PNP memorandum that orders policemen to conduct profiling and intelligence gathering of ACT members.
It said the PNP’s order to its policemen has caused fear among the ACT members.
Earlier, PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said such order is part of the government’s effort against internal security problem, including the NPA rebels. (SunStar Philippines)